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Friday 18 August 2017

50th birthday celebrations for Margaret River hit Sydney and Melbourne

This is a very important year for the Margaret River wine region, which is celebrating 50 years since the first commercial production from what is now one of the most famous vineyard districts in the world.

Margaret River was first planted by Perth cardiologist Tom Cullity, who was influenced primarily by a 1966 research paper of University of Western Australia agronomist, Dr John Gladstones.

He examined Margaret River’s suitability for viticulture and believed that the only possible disadvantage of the region could be its heavy winter rainfall which would necessitate choosing vineyard land which had good drainage.

The region is now home to 217 vineyards and 187 wineries and located a leisurely three- hour drive south of Perth.

The planting at Vasse Felix (below) in 1967 signalled the beginnings of a wine industry in the region.

It was quickly followed by Moss Wood (1969), Cape Mentelle (1970), Cullen (1971), Sandalford (1972), Leeuwin Estate, Woodlands and Wrights (1973).

To celebrate the last five decades since the first grape vines were planted, 19 renowned Margaret River wineries will host a series of dinners and wine tasting events in Melbourne and Sydney in early September.

Guests will have the opportunity to experience 11 of Margaret River’s most premium wineries over a stunning five-course dinner at three-hatted restaurant, Vue de Monde on Monday, September 4, and Bentley Restaurant + Bar on Wednesday, September 6.

Winemakers and sommeliers from wineries including Cape Mentelle, Voyager Estate, Howard Park and Woodlands will showcase their flagship varietals, predominately chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.

For Deep Woods Estate chief winemaker Julian Langworthy, the events offer a unique opportunity to bring together some of the region’s finest wines under one roof. “It’s great to see so many fantastic winemakers and wineries taking part in these events. I’m excited to showcase some of Deep Woods’ most notable wines alongside my industry peers,” he says.

Margaret River Wine will also host a tasting in Melbourne and Sydney, presenting over 50 wines from some of the region’s most iconic producers, including Fraser Gallop Estate, McHenry Hohnen, Xanadu and Margaret River’s oldest winery, Vasse Felix.

Guests will taste wines in order of the winery’s establishment, and enjoy a selection of canap├ęs.

Participating wineries in order of establishment: Vasse Felix 1967, Cape Mentelle 1970, Woodlands 1973, Clairault | Streicker Wines 1976, Xanadu Wines 1977, Voyager Estate 1978, UMAMU Estate 1978, McHenry Hohnen Vintners 1979, Pierro Vineyards 1980, Devils Lair 1980, Deep Woods Estate 1987, Credaro Wines 1988, Howard Park 1996, Thompson Estate 1997, Oates Ends 1998, Fraser Gallop Estate 1999, Coward & Black 2001, Hutton Wines grower sourced, Flametree Wines grower sourced.

There is, of course, one elephant in the room. Some of the oldest producers, and some of the biggest names in Margaret River are not involved. Whether Cullen, for instance, and where are Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood and Sandalford?

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